It’s a sad reality that cyber-criminals eagerly exploit tragic circumstances in order to take advantage of and steal from new targets. In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, a number of new scams have cropped up, including:
An IRS-themed phishing scam that instructs the receiver to download an FBI questionnaire (once the target clicks the link, their computer is infected with ransomware)
Facebook pages and tweets with links to fake charity websites
Scam emails seeking donations to #HurricaneHarvey Relief Funds (any donations made are simply kept by the cybercriminal who sent the email)
Keep the following in mind if and when you encounter a potential cyber scam:
The IRS will NEVER use email, text messages, or social media to contact you about personal tax issues. If you receive or fall victim to an IRS-themed scam, be sure to report it to the IRS at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Victims of ransomware schemes should never pay a ransom, as this further encourages the criminals, and often they refuse to provide the decryption key even after a ransom is paid. Rather, victims should immediately report any ransomware attempt or attack to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (www.IC3.gov).
If you desire to make a donation in support of the victims of Hurricane Harvey, go directly to the website of the charity of your choice in order to do so.
Always think before you click on any links in emails or texts you receive!”